Activist: Focusing on state-level politics can help Democrats beat GOP gerrymandering

Progressive activists focused on opposition to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE are turning their attention to another target: state-level politics.

"States play a major role in national elections," Catherine Vaughan, the co-founder and CEO of Flippable, a political action committee that focuses exclusively on state governments, said during an interview broadcast on Monday's "Rising."

Vaughan noted that it is state legislatures that draw the district lines that set congressional seats, and that have protected a number of GOP lawmakers.

"The state policies on who gets to vote, how votes are counted, how district lines are drawn — which makes Congress so much more gerrymandered, and so much harder for Democrats to flip than it was before," she said.

Flippable is one of several new organizations on the political left that are cropping up in response to earlier successes by conservative groups like the American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC) and the State Policy Network at using state politics as a means to implement their electoral and policy goals.

The GOP also made significant gains from a Republican State Leadership Committee initiative called the Redistricting Majority Project (REDMAP) which focused significant Republican donor funds on flipping state legislative seats in swing states.

Vaughan also argued that state-level politics matter because that's where many federal politicians begin their public service careers.

"State governments build the bench for federal government," she said. "Almost 50 percent of members of Congress started at the state legislative level. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein Obama2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA Aren't delirious Democrats now accusing Team Obama of treason? Trump won't say if he'd endorse Pence in 2024 MORE was a state senator in my home-state of Illinois."

—Matthew Sheffield